Saturday, August 11, 2007

PMC Impressions

I know, I know .. I've been bad. I apologize for the great gap in posts, but tis the season to be out there gettin' it done, so blog time is on the back burner.

I AM very excited about some new Precious Metal Clay stuff I've been doing though, and thought I might just pop a photo up real quick so you could see what I've been up to (up to this point, most of what I've been pounding out are repeats of existing pieces and LOTS of those colored wire bracelets and necklaces .. so you haven't really missed much).

A couple exciting things have happened to get things moving on the PMC front: (1) I finally received my logo and business name stamps, and (2) I serendipitously discovered an incredible little "rubber stamp poet" kit at a local antique show a couple Sundays ago filled with the most wonderful word stamps!! And that's all it took!

You might have to double click on the photo above to get a closer look (can't do it from an email "post update" folks .. go to and click on the photo there), but the small round piece on the bottom shows my logo stamp. I used Original PMC for these, as they'll shrink down about 25% to 30% and will be perfect little charms for the Viking Knit bracelets. The stamp with my business name .. using the same OzHandicraft font as all my business materials .. can be seen on the back of one of the word stamps in the lower right. That particular stamp - representing "obsenities deleted" - made the whole box full of 80 stamps worth the $6 I paid for it! I just know that I'm not the only one who has days that such a pendant would perfectly represent! The other two, "Wild" and "Juicy" were among my first experiments with the stamps. Every single stamp uses a different font; and they're the proper size for either Original PMC (which will shrink down to make smaller pendants) or PMC+ or PMC3 (which shrink only about 10% to 12% and would create slightly larger pendants). And there are enough wonderful words to keep me busy making pendants for a while: Moon, Mystery, Beauty, Dream, Passion, Dance, Secret, Fate, Laughter, Heart, Always, Magic, Imagine, Soul, Secret ... among others that can be combined on one stamp or doubled up and suspended on chain, leather, ribbon, etc. The possibilities are endless!!

I've poked jump ring holes into several of the pendants above to allow them to be suspended from whatever necklace material I choose; but "Wild" I left alone, as I think I might solder a fine silver tube bail onto that one. I'd like to try it at least once to see how it looks before getting crazy with that idea .. but I've only just recently found and ordered some fine silver tubing, so we'll see how it goes. The inside diameter of the tubing I ordered is relatively small; so I think they might only be appropriate for something easily threaded through them - like leather cord, rattail or ribbon.

The leaf is from a maple tree ... again I used Original PMC, so it'll end up being only about 1.5" long after it's fired. I was really pleased with the way this one turned out. I'd been trying to find a leaf small enough to impress, but who knew trees stopped growing in June!!! Sheeesh! So it's been a trial hunting up an example that was not only small enough, but which also hasn't been destroyed by various leaf-eating creatures. I rolled this one awfully thin (not recommended), so it'll be very delicate once it's fired. But the thing that got me especially excited is that I pressed a little too hard in the center where the largest "vein" in the leaf is located; and when the piece dried, it cracked through to the other side. Normally, this would be cause for disappointment. However, in this particular case, it makes the leaf look so much more real, that I couldn't believe my good fortune! However, it ain't over 'til it's fired ... so I'm crossing my fingers that it holds up in the kiln. Once it's fired, I'll be able to bend some of the leaf segments this way or that way so that it's not completely flat. It was so thin, I hesitated to get creative while it was still wet clay.

For anyone who thinks PMC is a "faster" way to make precious metal pieces, think again!! If you want your PMC pieces to look GOOD when they come outta the kiln, ya gotta spend some time with 'em before you pop 'em in there. Once they're dry (and while I have a hotplate I can use to excelerate the process, I prefer to let them dry on their own ... less rolling up on the edges that way), you have to clean them up - soften any rough edges and sand, sand, sand!! I have really fine micron-graded abrasive finishing paper from 3M that I use, beginning with 400 grit and working up to 8000 .. slowly, one grit at a time. The more time you take with this process, the happier you'll be when they come out of the kiln. If you don't do it at this stage, you'll have to do it when it's finished .. and it's a lot easier to sand leather hard PMC than fine silver metal!

OK .. that's all for now folks! Oh .. one more thing .. I have a show coming up in Clayton on the 25th and 26th (in the heart of the Thousand Islands, for those of you unfamiliar with the area) for the benefit of The Handweaving Museum and Art Center, so I've got to get busy and pound out a few new pieces. It's at the Recreational Arena in Clayton, right off route 12. If I have time, I'll post a couple of the new pieces ... the ribbon necklaces have been getting some attention, so I may pull out the colors I haven't yet used and see what I come up with.

Ciao for now!

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